James MacDonald Launches New Ministry & Home Church Network

By Julie Roys

About a year after being fired from Harvest Bible Chapel for conduct “harmful to the best interests of the church,” disgraced former pastor, James MacDonald, has launched a new online ministry and Home Church Network.

MacDonald’s new website features dozens of video sermons recorded during MacDonald’s more than 30-year tenure at Harvest Bible Chapel. More than 50 of the sermons were uploaded to YouTube yesterday.

MacDonald had been in arbitration with Harvest Bible Chapel for rights to his sermons. I reached out to Harvest, inquiring about whether the church and MacDonald had reached a settlement, but the church did not respond. I also reached out to MacDonald, but he did not respond either.

According to MacDonald’s website, MacDonald’s new Home Church Network (HcN) will provide people who “struggle to get to church or to stay in church,” a non-traditional way to do so.

For leaders who qualify, HcN says it will provide a video Bible teaching recorded specially for home groups. HcN also promises to include worship from “some of the most loved and widely appreciated worship leaders in the world.”

According to the website, there are four “HcN beta-groups” that will complete the ministry’s training in February.

Last November, the elders at Harvest Bible Chapel formally disqualified MacDonald from public ministry, saying his behavior did not meet the standards for leadership outlined in Scripture.

The church also released the results of financial review, which found that under MacDonald, the church had suffered a “massive corporate governance failure.” The review also found that MacDonald had used secret accounts to funnel millions in church funds to himself for personal use.

However, in the “controversy” section of his new website, MacDonald asserts that the “financial accusations are simply false” and denies having had any secret account. He also asserts that the use of church funds for apparel and gifts were not “outside the norms” for a ministry of Harvest’s size.

MacDonald also addresses what he calls “sensationalized trips,” presumably a reference to church-funded excursions I reported last March. These included an African safari, a month-long Naples vacation, and a trip to a Dominican Republic resort.

MacDonald says the trips were “publicized gifts” that “were approved and given to worthy recipients” for their “faithful service.”

MaDonald also addresses use of church funds for the cultivation of a trophy white-tail deer herd at Camp Harvest, saying the deer herd was “a more cost-effective way” of fundraising with high-capacity donors.

James MacDonald Ministries also announced on the website a planned tour of the Holy Land in November 2020. There’s also a form on the site for pastors who want to be trained in “better biblical preaching.” And there’s a form to fill out to invite MacDonald to speak at your church or ministry event.

The website also is selling five of MacDonald’s books. Both Moody Publishers and Lifeway said last year that they will no longer sell and/or carry books by MacDonald.

It’s not clear whether James MacDonald Ministries is a registered nonprofit with the IRS. When you click on the “Give” button, it says that James MacDonald Ministries is not accepting online donations at this time.”

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57 thoughts on “James MacDonald Launches New Ministry & Home Church Network”

  1. Well, well, well…the fattened cow is not to be denied the lifestyle to which he is so accustomed. It’s just a shame that there will be folks who will buy into, and support, the ministry of this disgraced wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  2. I never liked McDonald. I always thought he was arrogant. I told people he was a crook sixteen years ago I have left the church sixteen years ago.

  3. Julie Roys writes:

    “MacDonald also addresses use of church funds for the cultivation of a trophy, white-tail deer herd at Camp Harvest, saying the deer herd was “a more cost-effective way” of fundraising with high-capacity donors.”

    High-capacity donors? What does this mean? How is this Biblical?

    Fund-raising ? What does this mean?

    Recently, group of Elders at my church wanted to raise financial support for a couple who is wanting to adopt. The Elders stated their intentions, and Goal, and defined how their goal was supported by Scripture. The Elders communicated the scope and the parameters of what they wanted to achieve. And their Letter went out to ALL MEMBERS of our church. The Elders also said that any money given would be tracked and open, transparent financial records available to all.

    My point is: the Elders at my church do NOT treat the high-income contributors any different from the low-income contributors.

    It appears that James’s legacy at HBC involves much favoritism to the “high-capacity donors”, which served James quite well. James left Harvest a multi-millionaire dollar man, and the church is now in 40 something Million dollars in debt.

    1. Jessica Hockett

      It served other church leaders too. Many men and women were “in on” and benefited from the financial schemes at Harvest Business Club. Still no full disclosure of money sins, and the Elders inexplicable agreed to negotiate with a fired-for-cause wolf. I doubt James MacDonald will let go of wrangling with HBC for less than $5M. He fears no one, least of all a Holy God. Truly terrifying

  4. There is no organization titled “James MacDonald Ministries” listed with either the IRS or Illinois Attorney General.

    This may be due to the application being in progress. Unless the organization qualifies as a church, contributions are not deductible at this time.

    1. Jessica Hockett

      Correct. Only record of something official is “Walk in the Word with Dr James MacDonald” was filed last spring with the IL Secretary of State.

  5. Greedy bankers accused of misconduct get fired and leave the industry. Immoral doctors get fired and leave the medical profession. Athletes accused of betting on games get fired and leave the profession. But as Lina Abujamra on Julie Roys podcast said: ravenous wolves like James MacDonald accused of misconduct get fired from their church and they end up leaving their church and “hit and run” someplace else. She is right.

    The Biblical admonition for the church to warn others about ravenous wolves is even more relevant today.

    James MacDonald in his actions of “hitting and running” someplace else has now started a church network !!

    1. Agreed! Not to mention he is accepting applications for people to join his “HcN’ network and determining by “the discernment of the Holy Spirit” whether or not they are accepted. If they are then he is requiring them to take a training created by him. What a joke! Yet, as previously mentioned, sadly there are some who will continue to fall into this man’s schemes and follow him. If you read his site and under the “About” tab in his personal and ministry section you can see how truly arrogant this man still is. It is ALL about him. I was a member at Harvest for many years and it’s sad to see how one man completely destroyed that church and so many lives.

  6. Forget about this greedy con man. Say a prayer and hope that he’ll someday repent for the sake of his soul! Until then I say bye bye…

  7. LAWS NEED TO CHANGE PERIOD! It would be GREAT if the LAWS were changed that NO PASTOR/Church could make a living off the Church AT ALL unless doing Charity, Social, Humanity and Education since the false church has been set up as a Non-Profit 501c3, Corporation=Business. That all the Land, Property, Real Estate, Buildings, Ranches, Camps, Airplanes, Vehicles, Money and acquired wealth actually goes to serve people in an Administration Capacity as that’s what they have been all along. NO MORE FLEECING THE FLOCK AT ALL. People are the church, not buildings. No more empty words, empty promises and lies of prosperity gospel.

    Well, deep subject maybe congregation can come forth to make sure he serves time in Jail and Prison for fleecing the Flock like Mark Driscoll, Andy Savage and or Doug Phillips and the too many to name like Benny Hinn, Frank/Brian Houston; TBN Dynasty etc,. Not to mention when you look at ALL the molestation, pedophile, rape, adultery; scandals as these Hucksters, Con-men/women making a living off the Church and serving no one but themselves, their lifestyle. All the ministries where the children and family members are groomed to take over making a living off the same umbrella. Is all you got was a used religion salesmen selling his religion, dead rhetoric?

    That ALL the Property finally would serve Homeless, Widowers, Widows, Fatherless, Orphans, Veterans, Single Parents and their Children; Families; and the Community Center would be the place to gather to Worship. Make the inane, inept church that is self-serving finally serve the people as it has been sucking out your brains, time; money for years and what did you truly learn? People need to research who truly founded and funded their regimes; QUESTION why they haven’t built Housing and Shelters and LOVED and served people! From Birth to Death would your Pastor have ever gone through the Bible completely once? STOP building THEIR empires as God doesn’t get any money; not a dime and as you are robbing your family. People’s time and money built the Baptist, Foursquare, “Assassins of god”, Calvary Chapel, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian etc,
    Who did your denomination serve besides themselves and their lifestyles? Who benefited, not the people!

    1. Well said Bobbie. The whole senior pastor, elder rule, clergy-laity model is not Biblical, and has no place in the New Testament Ecclesia. These men we call pastors and elders need to do like the Apostle Paul and work a real job to make a living.

  8. MacDonald says on his website,

    “I am not disillusioned with traditional local church, but large churches present complicating logistics and often negatively affect Christian relationships. For that reason, we feel led by the Lord to offer an alternative for those who need it – something different and refreshing that we are calling the Home Church Network – with all the impact of a large church but none of the drama.”

    So, let me get this straight … you invent a virus, infect a city, many die, more become sick. Then you come back as the hero with a vaccine?

    There is something sick about it.

  9. Of course to contact him at this ministry you are required to put in your address. He’s already getting your address to send you pleas for money. Greedy demons are tough. I had one around me before I got saved. James is NOT led by the Lord here. He is led by greed. But the human idolaters will flock to him. They need to worship someone.

  10. I like the bit about “needing” a trophy deer herd to get fundraising done. Apparently a lot of rich Christians want to go hunting and pretend it’s somehow a ministry or something? Reminds me of when guys in college would go to “Pinball Pete’s” to decompress and pretend it was evangelism. At least they were joking.

    This really invites some serious thought about what the signs are that a pastor is not on the up & up. For me, my first sign that MacDonald was not so (I’ve never been a Harvest member or attender, just read a book and saw a video) was a huge amount of things he was saying that I just couldn’t square with Scripture. The “Elephant’s Debt” stuff came well after that.

  11. Julie, thank you for your fair and balanced reporting on all that is afflicting the Church. Your spotlight on the wickness is so helpful to all in the Body of Christ. Keep fighting the good fight of faith! My prayers are with you and your family.

  12. Former HBC Member

    Not surprising. My heart aches for the unwise, uninformed or those who idolize James MacDonald, all who will follow him to this next venture like lemmings off a cliff. This man is a power hungry, narcissistic lunatic who displays nearly zero biblical qualifications of being an elder and leader within the Church of Jesus Christ. He has destroyed a once-thriving pinnacle of Christ’s church, destroyed the faith and trust of thousands, and now proceeds on to the next gong show without saying a word. Evil incarnate. So much damage. No ownership or responsibility. I have tithed well into 6 figures to his church, having gone to HBC for nearly 20 years. Every time I think of this it gets me enraged and sick to my stomach. Never again will I trust another pastor. Never.

    1. “Never again will I trust another Pastor” …

      Lots of Pastors sacrificially serving in churches throughout the world and honoring God as they hallow His name.

      Get in the Word and dig deep often. Let our patient and loving Lord soften your heart. Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another day after day lest anyone of you be hardened by the deceit deceitfulness of sin”.

      If we are indeed Christ followers, then you and me are indeed Pastors. We are the image bearers of Christ. Let’s show the people around us through how we live our life that God is faithful and can be trusted.

    2. FORMER HBC MEMBER

      The Bible says some interesting things about pastors…
      That you are NOT likely to hear from “the pulpit.” :-)

      The word “Pastors” is nine times in the KJV Bible.
      One time in the NT. Eph 4:11…
      Eight times in the OT…
      ALL in Jeremiah…

      Six times in Jeremiah God is NOT happy with pastors. ;-)

      You are NOT likely to hear these verses from “The Pulpit.” ;-)

      Jeremiah 2:8 KJV
      …”The Pastors” also transgressed against me,
      and the prophets prophesied by Baal,
      and walked after things that do not profit.

      Jeremiah 10:21 KJV
      For ”The Pastors” are become brutish, ( beastly, carnal )
      and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper,
      and all their flocks shall be scattered.

      Jeremiah 12:10 KJV
      Many “Pastors” have destroyed my vineyard,
      they have trodden my portion under foot,
      they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

      Jeremiah 22:22 KJV
      The *wind shall eat up all “Thy Pastors,”
      (*wind = ruwach = breath, mind, spirit.)

      Jeremiah 23:1 KJV
      Woe be unto ”The Pastors” that destroy
      and scatter the sheep of my pasture!

      Jeremiah 23:2 KJV
      …thus saith the LORD God of Israel
      against ”The Pastors” that feed my people;
      Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away,
      and have not visited them: behold,
      **I will visit upon you the evil of your doings,**
      saith the LORD.
      ——-

      Jer 50:6
      “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
      **THEIR shepherds**
      have caused them to *go astray,*

      1 Pet 2:25
      For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
      BUT are now returned to
      the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

      {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    3. FORMER HBC MEMBER

      “Never again will I trust another pastor. Never.”
      ——-

      Sorry for your pain. I understand…

      It took a lot of years, and a lot of tears…

      Finally, with the darkness, and with the pain…
      There is NO place to Go…
      But to GO to Jesus…

      And Jesus is the Best. Yes?

      The only Shepherd worthy of our trust…
      Is Jesus.

      Not of much of what we see *Today,* with pastors, leaders…
      Has any reference in scripture.

      In the Bible, is there anything about…
      Paid, Professional, Pastors, in Pulpits?
      Preaching, to People, in Pews?
      Weak after Weak?
      In a church?

      NOPE…
      ——-

      And other sheep I have, which are NOT of this fold:
      them also I must bring, and they shall “Hear My Voice; “
      and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
      John 10:16

      If not now? – When?

      One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

      {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  13. Churches are not given the authority to disqualify a pastor (Ro. 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable 1 Tim. 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry).

    1. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” Matthew 18:15-17

      Phil, as someone who attended and served at Harvest for many years I agree and support Harvest decision. James is not leaning on God for direction and his actions are proof of that. He is an well educated conman. True definition of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Every has been, and remains, all about him. If you, or anyone else, has doubt about that, just look at his repentance letter below. I have included somethings in parentheses to pray fully help open your eyes to the true nature of his heart. Also, please do not think I am saying this as an attack on him. I say this with overwhelming sadness and sorrow for his soul. HBC was my home for many years. I loved my church and it’s pastor. This situation has grieved me deeply.

      James Macdonald repentance letter:

      I was, am, and will remain very sorry for the careless and hurtful words that were illegally (victim) recorded and publicized. I immediately sent written apologies where appropriate, (meaning he chose who he felt deserved an apology and disregarded everyone else he hurt) grieving what it revealed about the state of my heart at the time, as well as the hurt caused to those who trusted us to be a more consistent (meaning he is Christlike but occasional has slipped) example of Christlikeness. I have no excuse and am truly sorry.
      I confess to all who have followed my ministry, a regression into sinful patterns of fleshly anger and self pity that wounded co-workers and others. These sin issues had been points of growth and victory as expressed through my preaching and writing, but I fell back beginning in late 2016 and have only myself to blame. I wrestled with the stress I felt (victim), the injustice I endured (victim), etc. Yet, over time I have come to see only myself and my own relational failing in the mirror , and with grief and sorrow I ask your forgiveness.
      As part of this, I have come to see my sin of handling pressure in a way that got things done (justifying), but neglected the priority of love and the presiding humility of serving others first. Letters have been sent to those the Holy Spirit has brought to mind (Again, WHO he feels deserved them, justifying it by saying who the “Holy Spirit” brought to mind), owning what is true (Again, victim. Denying all accusations are true, even with documented proof) without reference to what is false (praising himself). We are looking to the Lord to keep my focus here as long as it takes in hopes of reconciliation with every willing heart (blame shifting).

  14. While there is a lot of variety among house churches and the like, you’d probably find (a) an indifference towards fame, polished big-church speakers etc and (b) a relectuance to sign up to some new network, esp when there are plenty of free (no strings) resources online. I doubt he’d get much traction.

    He might get leverage out of his radio audience who might be unaware of all the scandals. If he’s still getting radio airtime, someone needs to talk to any stations hosting him.

  15. misterjesperson

    Phil, you’re proof-texting out of context. The 1 Tim. scripture is about Paul talking about himself and no one else. The Romans scripture refers to the call of the Jews as God’s chosen people. It is not talking about being a church leader. Titus ans Timothy talk about the qualifications for that and a man who is looking to kill his enemies certainly does not qualify!

  16. Disqualifying James MacDonald from Ministry after 30 years of ministry is the most incredibly loving thing these elders can do for him. I applaud these men for loving their former pastor the way the Bible requires. At all costs. Now, prayerfully, there is hope for true reconciliation, repentance, and far greater glory.

    1. Jessica Hockett

      Just to clarify, the Harvest Elders said James “was biblically disqualified from the position of Elder…and will not be able to serve again as an Elder or Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel.” They continued, “We believe James could be restored to ministry someday, but in order for that day to come, the fruits of repentance must be evident.”

      I’m not sure the statement was made out of love per se. It came nine months after MacDonald’s termination, under pressure from social media for the HBC Elders to make their position on MacDonald’s qualification clear.

  17. I followed walk in the word for a decade faithfully. My knowledge of the Bible from then until now is huge. And more important is my relationship with Jesus Christ! There is no doubt in my heart and mind that James Macdonald spoke Gods word! A wolf would never bring a sinner to God. I found Jesus through Walk in the word! We all are sinners, all of us so “drop the rock” and let God throw the rock and let us all “love one another!” This is what my brother Macdonald tought me to do straight from the God breathed Bible itself! Go kick some James!

    1. So you’re OK, then, Justin, if MacDonald starts shooting a BB gun at images of his detractors and threatening to get them arrested for child porn again? What if he just keeps living super-rich and putting the organizations he’s a part of in huge debt? Maybe some more high stakes poker games, bribing church donors with deer hunts, and the like?

      You personally like his teaching–I don’t, but fine. But I plead with you to understand the fact that the man has a horrendous history that strongly suggests he’s not qualified to preach.

    2. Justin—You’re right about one thing. Wolves don’t bring people to Christ. Only the Holy Spirit does. And last I checked, James MacDonald isn’t the Holy Spirit, who alone draws people to the Lord. MacDonald, on the other hand, is a wolf whom God, if he so chooses, can use to draw people to, or repel people from Himself. And lately, MacDonald seems to be doing a far better job of repelling people from the Lord.

    3. Correction, Justin, JAMES didn’t bring you to God. The Holy Spirit did, and He will use anyone to do so. Even a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  18. I checked out the HBC Elder page. There has been NO updates from them since Nov. 2019 and nothing said about “christian arbitration” . How did Jmac get “his” sermons uploaded on youtube? Again transparency is trashed by HBC leadership.

  19. Curious how he is going to advertise his Home Church Network. How many suckers could he get that just stumble onto his website? Maybe he has the WITW donor list. I’d expect him to start a “Revival” tour coming to a city near you to promote HCN. Maybe get the Vertical Church Band back together.

  20. Do not confuse biblical “knowledge” with the discernment from the Holy Spirit. There are many false “Jesus”es out there – only One can bring New Life through New Birth into Him.

    The Holy Spirit teaches us to LOVE without hypocrisy – love what God loves; HATE what God hates.

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